Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as saying, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” We can’t deny that there are few instances in life in which the result turns out better without preparation, especially when we’re talking about business. As a central component of any company, the HR department is no exception to this rule, meaning the human resources plan must be given the importance it deserves.
If you’re still not sure what the purpose of human resources planning is, then this article is for you. We’ll explain in detail how to translate your department’s strategic thinking onto paper and put it into practice.
What is strategic human resource planning?
The human resources plan outlines the general strategy for this business area. It includes measures to adapt to current and future supply and demand requirements relating to the workforce, as well as pay policies, wellbeing, etc.
Generally, the document considers the following topics:
- How many staff are required to fulfil the organisation’s needs.
- Staff management strategies.
- Job descriptions for all posts.
- Channels and sources for attracting candidates.
- Recruitment and selection processes.
- Growth and development planning.
The importance of a human resources plan
A company human resources plan is essential if the staff and organisation are to operate effectively. This document is also key to achieving a company’s business objectives.
It also serves to:
- Promote flexibility within the organisation: we are living in a constantly changing world. Effective planning helps companies adapt more easily to new situations and negotiate market volatility.
- Improve the distribution and use of internal talent: by analysing and organising the human capital, companies can make better use of internal talent and distribute employees more coherently.
- Facilitate growth for small to medium enterprises: HR planning is a fundamental aspect of growth strategies. It is important to know when to subcontract, how many people to hire, what benefits will it bring, etc.
The objectives of a human resources plan
Why do companies design human resources management plans? The main goals are as follows:
- Supply information: the data acquired through a company’s human resources plan are hugely important to, for example, identify surplus, unused resources. Similarly, the information can also be used in other management functions.
- Analyse the current workforce: the document should also determine the workforce’s strengths and existing skills.
- Use human resources effectively: Planning is the HR management’s primary responsibility, as their duty is to ensure efficient use of the current and future labour force.
- Identify salary gaps: the document will also examine any potential salary gaps and, in turn, create more equal policies.
- Ensure internal wellbeing: good planning and organisation almost automatically generate an improvement in the work environment, boosting productivity and employee satisfaction.
- Retain talent: this, in turn, has a direct impact on talent retention. Employees who are content in their job are less likely to accept offers from other companies.
- Foresee potential department needs: all planning should include a forecasting section. Understanding when it will be necessary to incorporate new people into the team and what type of role is required is essential.
6 steps to create a human resources plan
At this point you may be thinking, “but how do I do a human resources plan?” If that’s the case, here are the steps you need to follow:
1. Define the plan’s objective
Any measures that are developed by a company must be aligned with the general business objectives. This goes for the human resources plan, too.
Aside from this, the specific objectives of the plan will be targeted at a particular area: employee retention, attracting talent, promoting the business culture, etc. It is important to be clear and precise at this stage for the content to be useful and have a real impact on the organisation.
2. Analyse the current human capital
The next key step is to analyse and evaluate the availability and resilience of the current resources. This will entail carrying out an exhaustive assessment of each member of the organisation in terms of skills, experience, performance, seniority, etc.
3. Carry out a needs forecast
Analysing future labour requirements is an important step in human resources planning. Although there will always be fluctuations, it is critical to have a forecast in place of factors such as: redundancies, dismissals, retirements, promotions, etc.
4. Write the HR plan
Once you’ve gathered all the information, it’s time to create a solid plan that fulfils current needs and forecasted possibilities. For example, you will have to decide whether it is necessary to hire, train or subcontract labour to achieve the company’s objectives.
In general, try to include the following information:
- Definition of targets and goals.
- Required measures, expected results and resources used.
5. Implement the plan
Implementing the plan is probably the most challenging step. Many organisations, in fact, do not achieve what they have set out to do. To approach it successfully, trust your team and introduce changes gradually. Try to handle any incidents as they come along and make sure you are complying with the organisation’s general standards.
6. Monitor and review the process
HR planning is an ongoing process. It is important to review the plan periodically to make sure the strategy is pointing in the right direction and achieving the objectives.